Should You Go With A Publisher Or Self-Publish Your Book?


Your book is complete, and you are now ready to bring it to the world’s attention. Now comes the part where you need to make a critical decision. Should you go with a traditional publisher for your book or go with a self-publishing option?

When it comes to the method of publishing a book, the greatest debate in the literary world is traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. The fans of self-publishing talk about getting higher royalties and having more creative control over how to publish a book, while authors who choose to go with traditional publishing say theirs is the only way to publish your way to success.

So let us explore the pros and cons of both methods to help you make your choice of which path you want to take to get your book published.

How Does Traditional Publishing Work

When you choose traditional publishing to publish your book, you basically work with a third-party publisher to get your book released. This publisher will deal with the design work, editing, and also marketing of your book. They will get the book released using one of their imprints, and you as the author will get a percentage of royalties.

Going with traditional publishing gives you access to the industry connections and miscellaneous services of the publisher in exchange for your book product. You won’t need to take care of the details, but you also won’t have complete ownership either. You will also need to bypass gatekeepers as traditional publishing is a pretty competitive market.

Pros of Traditional Publishing

  • The literary awards and prestige.
  • The publisher pays all the costs for production.
  • An expert team of marketers, proofreaders, editors, and designers work on your project.
  • The book gets distributed in physical bookstores.

How Does Self-Publishing Work

When you go with self-publishing, you are taking on all the responsibilities of getting your book published. You have to take care of editing, formatting, cover design, marketing, and releasing your book. You don’t necessarily have to do all these things yourself.

You can hire people such as a cover designer and an editor to take care of certain responsibilities. Many people like this option more as it allows them to retain ownership of the rights of the book and the royalties.

Pros of Self-publishing

  • You have total control over the creative aspects.
  • You are guaranteed that your book will get published.
  • The book will be on the market as soon as you want.
  • Earn a royalty rate of around 50% for the printed version and 70% for the ebook.
publish your book

Which One Should You Go With

The process you choose to publish your book will depend on the type of book you are writing, your background as a writer, and your writing skills. Some of the important categories that will determine which route you will take are discussed below.

Creative Control

Having creative control is the main thing that differentiates between having your book self-published or going with traditional publishing. When you go with self-publishing your book, you will maintain total control over the entire publishing operation.

You will be able to set your timeline and define the costs, choose any marketing strategies that suit you, and earn high percentages of the royalty. Taking care of all these responsibilities yourself can get very taxing and get you overwhelmed and drained. Hence, you must educate yourself to avoid any mistakes.

Going with traditional publishing allows you to have the peace of mind that the publisher will take care of most of these responsibilities and get them done right. You may not always approve of their choices, though, so if you need to maintain full creative control over the publication process, going with self-publication is probably more suited for you.


Since you have to finance the entire process in self-publishing, it is a more expensive route than traditional publishing. When counting in all the costs for design, editing, and marketing, you may be set back about $2000 for self-publishing a book. However, investing smartly into the process will help entice more readers into buying your book.

The royalty rate for self-publishing is at 50-%to 70-%, so you will be able to recoup the costs quite quickly. Just be smart with the marketing of the book.

Traditional publishing is a more stellar-looking approach, as the publisher is covering all the costs without you having to worry about anything. But as the royalty rates for the publisher are only at 5%-15% with traditional publishing, you could find an unpleasant surprise as your book hits the stalls. So if you want to match the numbers of royalty for the self-publishing option, you will need to sell six times more books with traditional publishing.

Timeline To Publish

The choices are steep when it comes to timelines for publishing. You can publish whenever you want when you self-publish your book, it can be taken as little as a few days or as long as a few years. You need to go through a formatting tool to upload the book to Amazon.

Going through a traditional publishing method will take considerably longer. It might take you anywhere from a year or longer to get your book acquired by a publisher, and then they might take even longer to publish the book.

They take this long as they perform a lot of in-house editing on your book, and they will want to schedule the release in a particular time format. They might even refuse to publish it altogether or postpone it indefinitely. So keep this in mind when choosing a publishing method.

Exposure To Readers

Many authors choose to go with traditional publishing when they want more exposure to mainstream audiences. Traditional publishers have the means to market your book on a large scale online and display the book prominently in bookstores.

Going with self-publishing, on the other hand, will enable you to reach your target audience more directly, but it might be tough to get the widespread recognition you desire. You will be able to build a loyal audience through price promotions and amazon ads. Cultivating your fan base helps a lot in these matters.

Summing Up

Most authors nowadays choose to self-publish their books as it is more satisfying. You can, however, explore the route of traditional publishing by talking to a few agents. Hopefully, the information in this article has helped you to decide which path you will choose to publish your book. So make an informed decision and best of luck with your new book!

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Experienced Educational Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the education industry. Passionate about early childhood education and empowering educators to make informed instructional decisions to meet the needs of all learners. Skilled in professional development, instructional design, curriculum development, educational marketing, and educational publishing and editing. Strong consulting professional with a M.S.Ed. in Curriculum Development and Instruction from California State University at Fullerton. Currently living is Seoul.


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